He really cares: Part 2

Please forgive me for leaving you hanging, Gentle Reader!  I left you hanging by a thread in this blog almost 2 weeks ago.  Clearly I made it out o.k. from the doctor’s office!

charcoal sketch, sketch of woman, side view of woman, head shot, female drawing, picture of lady

Since there were many hairy details in the horrible situation I was in on July 29th, I will shorten things up a bit here.  In my last post, I ended whilst lying on my side, paralyzed and inches from the floor after a convulsive episode in the exam room of a Physician’s Assistant (PA).  The second of two severe seizure attacks had occurred since entering this room and the second of two episodes of neurological collapse was in progress.  Eventually the PA returned and forgot everything I had ever told her about what to do in this circumstance; she even forgot that in the first episode (that she had witnessed) I was unable to speak or move.  All she kept asking was, “Do you want me to call an ambulance?”

Finally I was able to break through what was happening in my brain to express the greatest need in my life at that moment, “PLEASE REMOVE MY GLASSES!”  As she wrenched my neck and lifted my head I screamed in excruciating pain from having had my eyeglasses and sunglasses wedged against my face for so long.  Extreme sensory sensitivity accompanies the worst convulsive episodes; pain in particular is magnified as if you had tried to electrocute me!  So when the PA tried to remove them, it was as if a bolt of lightening had jolted through my face!  She asked again about the ambulance.  “Did I want to get up onto the table to be more comfortable?”  I could not speak or move at all.  Then she left.  A long time later she returned.  Then she left.  A long time later she returned.  Then she left.

To pray was my focus since the trained medical professional was of no help!  Thankfully after a long time, it was the Lord Who helped me twist and turn my torso so I could lie on my back across two chairs with my legs pulled up underneath me.  It took about a dozen tries before I could lift my head segmentally to reach a sitting position with my head supported by the wall behind me.  Never did a wall seem so comforting . . .

Eventually a nurse, the really sweet one, came into the room with a wheelchair so I could be taken to the bathroom.  Herein I benefitted from my training in transfer techniques as an occupational therapist.  My arms were starting to regain motor control but my legs were like dead weight .  I lifted them one at a time with my right arm (more functional than my left) off of the leg rests of the wheelchair and onto the floor, braced myself with the grab bar along the wall next to the toilet and pivoted myself around; I reversed the procedure with more adaptive techniques to do all of the things I needed to do in the bathroom.  By the time I was wheeling myself out of the bathroom, the really sweet nurse had returned to take me to the hospital in the building next door.  At last, over three hours later and feeling majorly beat up, I would be getting the IV fluids as ordered!

Unfortunately the IV “Lactated Ringers” didn’t help me much.  The nightly convulsive episodes returned followed by wake-up tazoring the next morning.  I was so beat up from everything.  The following evening I did make it to the grocery store when things had temporarily stabilized.  Such an ordeal!  Calming my anger at my medical providers has taken every day since then.  The doctor never mentioned it when I saw him last week.  He did not even ask if the IV fluids helped me to feel any better.  Sometimes that guy is just too focused on test results (or whatever) to examine the overall process of this patient’s sickness, the clues that might be hidden in plain sight.  Oh well.  The second appointment to review additional test results last week was cancelled (as are about 35% of his appointments).  A minor flare up of the ol’ anger distracted me once again, gratefully for less time . . .

So who really cares if I live?  Suffer?  Die?  I have spent the last 15 days meditating on this.  The real question emerged beneath these cries and it was not to find out if anyone really cares or not.  There are people in my life who love me and for this I am grateful.  The real question turned out to be whether or not I had submitted this illness to the Lord as a living sacrifice.  Who is really in charge here?  Did I offer it to the One Who sees all, loves me more than anyone?  Could I view laying this illness at the Lord’s mighty throne of grace as an act of both obedience and worship?  He calls believers to do this, by the way in Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  (Romans 12)

The Lord knows that our bodies are not perfect and that our world is not perfect.  Why would the God of the universe desire me to make alms to Him with my weaknesses?  He desires our devotion in all things and loves me and you just as we are.  But wouldn’t he rather have a tithe or act of service?  NO!  He is God not some distant authority figure or Santa Claus.  He loves us, has mercy on us, completes us, pours out His blessings, defends us, and promises to make good out of the fallen things of this world no matter how ugly.

1 Peter 5:6-11New International Version (NIV)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

I am holding out for the promise that lies within these words.  He will restore me in due time.  Who cares for me?  Who cares for you?  The Lord Jesus Christ, that’s Who!  In Him we will find rest no matter what may come our way.  We can be sure of it!  JJ

He really cares: Part 1

The initial blog title rattling around in my brain for the last 24+ hours was, “You are THE ONE who really cares.”  After all, when each of us is alone in the midst of a trial (particularly when it is medical), it is only you that bears the greatest burden of the suffering.  Others offer comfort, prayer, helps of various levels, and if you are lucky will actually stick around for more than a few moments.  But it is you, one and only, who must bear the pain . . .  And that can be frightening to say the least!

Rather than rant about what to do with fear, give platitudes and verses with which to train your mind, and otherwise avoid ministering to the weeping heart, I will simply offer this:

Just lay your head on the lap of Jesus.

More than anyone, Jesus Christ knows what it is like to be killed, pained, abandoned, betrayed, falsely accused.  He is the only one Who can be with you as the Holy Spirit, in your time of sorrow from its beginning until its end.  He will never leave us or forsake us and always be there if we but call upon His name.  He is worthy of our

praise

tears

anger

weakness

alms

thanksgiving.  I was reminded of all of this just yesterday!

About 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon I was abandoned in a treatment room of my doctor’s office.  The nurse practitioner (NP) had left the room after writing an order for me to get IV fluids and after “catching” me collapse during a short convulsive episode during the appointment.  After all, that’s why I was there:  to document the crisis, get the orders, and head over to the hospital for treatment thereafter.  I was sitting there kind of dazed.  Soon after she left the room (and after another nurse came into the room to revise the scheduling of some other appointments), I began to list to one side.  There was a chair next to me with my purse and water bottle resting on it.  The weakness increased and a few inches at a time, I began falling to my right side, coming closer to the purse on the chair.  I could not speak.  I could not brace myself.  I could not do anything but be glad there was a chair next to the one upon which I was sitting so as to break my fall.

The next 20-30 minutes were very ugly.  My body collapsed fully onto the chair next to me.  My face smashed into the zipper of the purse while my glasses and cover-style sunglasses pressed into my face.  I looked straight ahead with my head rotated completely to my left, straining my neck most uncomfortably.   The front of my right ear was crushed underneath me on the purse whilst the back was free-falling unsupported; the back of my head pressed into the vinyl backrest of the metal chair.  Not exactly pillow material!  My right hip was twisted and pushed into the thinly padded, vinyl seat of the chair upon which I was sitting.  The ringing in my ears had already increased with the headache that had been working its way into action over the past hour.  Legs cramping, toe tips burning as much as my finger tips, and feet struggling to keep contact with the floor to stabilize my position . . . herein I would remain for the next 90 minutes.

I thought about many things.  First, I prayed.  I prayed again and again and talked to God about many things.  Will they be coming soon?  Do I hear them coming?  Was I expected to go out to the nurse’s desk after the NP left the room or was she coming back with more instructions?  I really could not remember since I was already in the brain fog of recovering from the earlier episode that she had witnessed before she left the room.  Surely the staff would notice that I had not left the room yet?  Or maybe not.  I waited in that same treatment room (#4) TWO HOURS the last time I saw the NP before I stepped out to mention that I was in there waiting.  “I didn’t know you were in there waiting for me,” she explained with her soft, sweet voice that I would learn never changes even in the midst of an emergency . . .

Time passed.  It was hard to ignore the searing pain of the two pairs of glasses being pressed with my full upper body weight into the side of my nose.  I could not move to get more comfortable.  I still couldn’t speak.  I tested this out and nothing happened.  In a while when I tested it again, my arm would start shaking; if I tried my leg, my leg would start shaking.  This is what I call, “neurological collapse” at it’s finest.  I learned on in a Catamenial Epilepsy Facebook page that in true epilepsy (which I do not have) has a name for this phenomenon called, “Todd’s paralysis.”  It can go on for up to 48 hours and mimic the signs/symptoms of a stroke.  Todd’s paresis usually resolves on its own without any residual effects.  I have experienced this complication at least once per week for the last 3 years.  Gratefully, most of the time the residual effects for me resolve within 2 hours, at home, in the evening, and within reach of my beloved husband!

There is nothing I can do to quicken the process of recovery from an episode.  It takes what it takes.  Knowing this I tried to calm myself down and focus on my breathing despite my twisted posture.  My rib cage was constricted so I did what I could to at least slow down each inhale, each exhale.  I did what I could to keep my neck and shoulder muscles tensed a bit so as not to twist my upper torso any more extremely than it already was.  I tried to relax the crushed tissues on my face so the pain would subside.  This worked poorly.  Suddenly the voices beyond the closed door seemed louder.  Then I heard the doctor’s voice.  This would be the time to try and vocalize something for help.  My voice was weak.  help.  Help.  I tried many times.  Probably no one in the same room with me would have heard those first cries.

I redoubled my efforts.  I took a deeper breath and vocalized a little louder, “Help!”  Then I rested and made more attempts, “HELP!”  Surely the door cannot be that thick!  I can see a crack at the bottom between the wood of the door and the low pile carpeting.  “HEEEEEEELP!!!”  I cried again.  My nose was running from the first time I had started to cry, dripping onto my purse.  Fortunately it is made of an outdoorsy, washable fabric.  Your mind thinks of all kinds of things when you are trapped.

To be continued in Part 2